A Pesky Risk of Extensive Cell Phone Use

Do you live with your cell phone stuck to your ear? Have you noticed that the skin of your ear and cheek getting itchy, rashy, and rough? Welcome to the world of modern allergies!

According to an article on ScienceDaily:

Chatting endlessly on your cell phone can lead to an allergic reaction to the nickel in your phone, according to allergists at the annual meeting of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) in Phoenix, Nov. 11-16. From cosmetics to jewelry, body piercings to tattoos, allergies can lurk in unlikely places, allergists say.

A lot of people have an allergy to nickel, but it is usually easy to avoid prolonged contact. Until recently, only places you could get extended contact with nickel are from coins, keys, paper clips, and some jewelry. But with unlimited cell phone plans, there could be contact with the allergen for hours and hours each day. In Europe, there are regulations about the use of nickel in products, which helps protect people from the ugly side of chatting.

Symptoms [of nickel allergy] include redness, swelling, itching, eczema, blistering, skin lesions and sometimes oozing and scarring. Avoidance of direct skin contact is the best solution. For cell phones, try using a plastic film cover, a wireless ear piece, or switching to a phone that does not contain metal on surfaces that contact the skin, suggests [allergist Luz Fonacier, MD, ACAAI Fellow]. However, identifying the allergen and avoiding it is the only long term solution.

The sad thing is that you don’t have to be born with an allergy…you can develop it just through prolonged exposure to the substance. (It’s the same with some foods: Eating lots and lots of shellfish, corn, or other common allergenic foods can trigger a new allergy.)

If you suspect you have an allergy, you can know for sure by visiting an allergist who can test for specific allergies. Then, you and your doctor can figure out the best treatment.

Meanwhile, if your face rash is starting to become annoying, try using the speaker feature or lay off the cell phone for awhile. Okay, okay…stop laughing.

To read the full article, click here: Hold the Phone

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